Unless you are fortunate enough to have a crew, most of our time is spent taking care of our horses and we end up sacrificing our well-being. However, if we as riders do not feel our best, our horses are going to suffer indirectly from it, essentially working harder to make up for our lack of ability. We need to feel our best for our horses to feel their best. And this doesn’t just start at the ride itself; it needs to begin prior to the event just as our horses regimen prepares them weeks in advance leading up to, during and following the rides.
With all of the temptations in the human world, it is much easier to take care of our horses properly than it is to take care of ourselves. Some basic guidelines are as follows:
- Keep yourself hydrated; be conscious of this and force it. This means water and electrolytes; not soda, caffeine, alcohol. I have to admit I have a hard time with this one.
- Keep sugar to a minimum.
- Muscles need protein, potassium, and calcium. If you do not take in enough protein, your body will burn the muscles for energy – something you absolutely want to avoid. Try to find high protein drinks/bars without the added sugar. Bananas are a great source of potassium and yogurt is always a good source of calcium. Cheese will give you protein and calcium. And, if you are an egg eater, take ‘em in – they are a great source of protein and serve as an energy booster as the egg yolk is a natural source of B vitamins.
- Get as many group B vitamins as you can. The body does not store these, so take them in. They will help keep your energy and help your muscles perform more optimally. Riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, folic acid, B1, B6, B12. Most likely you are not going to eat enough foods to take these in, so take a B-complex vitamin and try to find your protein drinks/bars with the added vitamins as well as minerals. And, eat eggs (with yolk).